It’s a well-known fact that as technology progresses, there is an increasing need for cyber security, i.e. protecting IT infrastructure from malicious cyber attacks. This is especially true where businesses deal with sensitive and personal data, such as financial information.
As today is Safer Internet Day, we are reminded of this need. In 2016, the government published a report on cyber security breaches, highlighting that 65% of large UK firms detected a cyber security breach or attack in the last year, whilst 51% of medium firms and 33% of small firms have experienced breaches.
Businesses are trying to ramp up their cyber security systems, however there is a sizable lack of available IT pros who specialise in the field. A study by Indeed found that the gap between demand for cyber security skills in the UK and the availability of qualified professionals is the second largest in the world. Further evidence to show the gravity of the skills gap problem came from Tech Cities Job Watch, which reported that demand for cyber security skills rose by 46% in 2016.
So what cyber security skills are in high demand? Some of the top specialisations needed by UK businesses include:
- Network Security Specialists
- Mobile Security Specialists
- Application Security Specialists
- Cloud Security Specialists
The skills gap presents an opportunity for many IT professionals in the UK, particularly in London – the financial and technological hub of Europe. London has the most IT contract roles posted online than any other county or region in the UK. According to IT Jobs Watch, in the 3 months up to 6th February 2017, there were 103 live vacancies for contract roles in Greater London, compared to 26 in Manchester and 13 in West Midlands.
That, however, does not necessarily mean that cyber security pros must flock to London to make good money as a contractor. The median daily rate (the midpoint of the range of rates offered) in Manchester is £550, whilst in the City of London, it’s £525. The highest median daily rate was recorded in Hampshire, at a rate of £700 per day.
As you can see, a contracting career in cyber security can be quite lucrative when you have the right skills and know where to look. Our blog on becoming an IT contractor can help you get started if you think contracting might be the next step in your career.